Sting operation

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In law enforcement, a sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. A typical sting will have a law-enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect's actions to gather evidence of the suspect's wrongdoing.

Sting operations are common in the United States, but not allowed in other countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands.

Contents

Examples

Ethical and legal concerns

Sting operations are fraught with ethical concerns over whether they constitute entrapment. Law-enforcement may have to be careful not to provoke the commission of a crime by someone who would not normally be inclined to do so. Additionally, in the process of such operations, the police often engage in the same crimes, such as buying or selling contraband, soliciting prostitutes, etc. In common law jurisdictions, the defendant may invoke the defense of entrapment.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, however, entrapment does not prohibit undercover police officers from posing as criminals or denying that they are police.[2] Entrapment is typically only a defense if a suspect is pressured into committing a crime they would probably not have committed otherwise, though the legal definition of this pressure varies greatly from country to country. For example, if undercover officers coerced a potential suspect into manufacturing illegal drugs to sell them, then the accused could use entrapment as a defense. However, if a suspect is already manufacturing drugs and police pose as buyers to catch him, then entrapment usually has not occurred.

Sting operations in popular culture

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